Welcome to Albury Wodonga Health's Quality Account for 2020-2021

          Kristy Robson

Foreword by Catherine Prichard (Board Quality, Chairperson) and Dr Kristy Robson (Board Quality, Deputy Chair) 

We are pleased to present the 2020-21 Quality Account that showcases Albury Wodonga Health’s (AWH) commitment to continual improvement, one of the guiding principles underpinning and driving our care across all our services. The initiatives detailed in our report provide insight into how each year, our service evolves to better deliver on our vision of the ‘Best of Health’. The new online format for our Quality Account report is, itself, an example of our innovative approach.

Our COVID-19 pandemic response has again dominated much of our year. From this challenge has emerged some inspiring examples of innovation and resilience. Innovations such as the Virtual Visitor Program and our connection with our local Cultural And Linguistic Diverse (CALD) community have been born from solving COVID specific challenges but, both have application well beyond.   

The inception of our new Communications team has been timely. Whilst not in response to a specific COVID need, the team has been instrumental in ensuring timely, accurate, consistent and clear public health messaging across our catchment. Improved communication to our staff is equally important.

The rebranding exercise to renew our logo undertaken by the Communications team during the year is symbolic of a much larger organisational refresh that is underway. This reform importantly includes our transition to a more contemporary safety, quality and improvement model for our clinical governance functions.

Ensuring a safe environment for our staff and patients during COVID has, and continues to be, a major focus for us. An example of this includes the Respiratory Protection Program (RPP) and the ongoing work to ensure our staff have been fit-tested for the most appropriate facemask when donning Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Our RPP has extended beyond our own health service with our staff coordinating and providing services and leadership to other health services within our catchment.

Our catchment-wide focus has also seen us build on partnerships throughout our region for the betterment of our community across the Victorian LGA’s in our catchment: Wodonga, Wangaratta, Indigo, Towong and Alpine. We compliment this with working closely with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District to ensure the same catchment-wide focus north of the Murray, particularly during the Public Health Unit's response to COVID-19 and the messaging necessary to keep our community safe.

Notwithstanding the focus required for our COVID response, we have continued to progress other improvement opportunities. The Safer Baby Collaborative, the three year basic Physician training pathway and the Access & Flow action plan have all required significant effort to bring to fruition and are all important in improving our service and experience and outcomes for our patients and clients.  The commitment, expertise and resilience of our staff to progress these and many more initiatives in the midst of a global pandemic is nothing short of awe inspiring.

At all times we aim for our improvements to be strategic in addressing identified clinical risks and evidence based. The Mental Health, Pharmacy and Virtual Fracture Clinic initiatives canvassed in the report are examples of where we look to reference our clinical approach to both national and international best practice. These three initiatives address specific issues but collectively contribute to improved patient outcomes.

We hope you enjoy both the new format and the content of our 20-21 Quality Account. We thank and congratulate the Albury Wodonga Health staff for their continued focus on safety, quality and a person centred approach on the care they deliver to our community each and every day.